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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2018 Week 13 Hansard (27 November) . . Page.. 4804 ..


providing lots of very high quality care. It was being provided by people who often cared about it.

The new system is market driven. If you are an NDIS participant, the NDIA will say, "Yes, you need X amount of money to do X, Y and Z, and you are at liberty to go out and buy all those services." Of course, there are a number of issues with this. One of them is straightforward: knowledge. The participants may not know nearly as well as the previous block service providers what they actually do need. It is a significant issue in terms of market power. We do not have in any way a well-organised market here. Each individual participant, by definition, has a disability. We know that they are not the people who are most able to fight for their rights in our society. That is why the NDIS is helping them. But if you have one person with a small amount of money trying to find a service in what is now a very fragmented marketplace, you may have real problems.

One of our recommendations was that the ACT government should actually create a provider of last resort. We used to have a provider of last resort when people absolutely needed support and there was not any available. The ACT government used to step in and do that. No-one does it now. If you have run out of funding, it does not necessarily happen. As has been highlighted in a number of respite care cases, you may be someone for whom the NDIS funding is such that the providers all say, "No, we appreciate that you need this, but we cannot provide it for the money that you have." The providers have used up their reserves and there is no provider of last resort. One of our recommendations is that there should be a provider of last resort.

We have another two basic overarching recommendations. One of them is about early intervention. Mrs Dunne talked about this at some length from a hearing point of view but it is also clearly true from an autism point of view. Because of the structure of the NDIS, these are kids in Canberra that are not getting support as quickly as they would under the previous regime, where all that had to happen was for the parent to be told that their child had whatever it was. They would be told, "This is the group of people that has the block funding to deal with kids who have this issue. You go and see them tomorrow. You do not have to think anymore. They have worked out how to do this."

Under the NDIS there is a lot more bureaucracy before the treatment actually happens. For some things, if the treatment does not happen early on you may never be able to solve the problem, as Mrs Dunne talked about in respect of hearing impairment. For other things, it just means a lot more cost and a lot more pain for the kid, their family and society as a whole. We made recommendations which basically say that if the NDIS in some instances does not appear to be capable of funding interventions early enough to be useful, the ACT government should step in and do some targeted early intervention, because this is going to be in the best interests of the ACT as a whole, the babies and their families.

There is another area where it is very clear that there is a systemic gap. It is a systemic gap because the NDIS have said, "No, we do not think this is really our problem to do all of this; it is advocacy." Clearly, the people who have done well out of the NDIS are people who have someone who can advocate for them. That someone may be


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